Uncivil Agreement Chapter Summaries

Mason makes this argument a reality in a remarkably readable narrative. After exposing in the first chapters the fundamental condition of the book, it provides descriptive evidence that Americans have classified themselves socially in different parties as a function of ideology, race and religion and that they have become more hostile to those of the other team of supporters. Second, it documents the consequences of these developments. I have listed below not only the titles of the eight chapters, but also the subheadings of the first level, as they give an excellent overview of the book. In this final chapter, the author asks: “How does American politics return to the work of governance instead of focusing so much of our energy on partisan victory, conflict and pride?” Lilliana Mason UnzivilAgrement: How Politics Became Our Identity is easily the best book on American politics I`ve read in years. I mean this in two important ways. First, the book addresses perhaps the most pressing question in politics: why has American public opinion become increasingly polarized? The answer – that the increasing overlap between identities changes the way citizens see themselves and others – gives a clear understanding of polarization. But it`s not just an important book, it`s a good book. Mason constructs a meticulous reasoning based on social psychology, and each chapter of the book relies sequentially on the previous one. The result is a book that is more than the sum of the parts and represents a great progress in the field. I lost the number of times Mason made a point that clearly expressed a previously incomprehensible intuition about politics. There are few books that make this kind of contribution to a crucial issue in the way unzivile agreements do. It`s the American identity crisis.

Not that we have partisan identities, we`ve always had them. The crisis occurs when partisan identities are in harmony with other social identities and our intolerance towards others is fanned to a level that is not supported by our degrees of political divergence. (63) The traditional understanding in political science is that sorting is simply the direction between party and ideology. I affirm that a number of additional social identities can also be included, as demonstrated in Chapter 2. (63) “Political polarization in America is at a record high and the conflict has propelled itself beyond differences of opinion on political issues. In Mason`s fifth chapter, perhaps the most important in the book, she provides evidence that they are socially sorted supporters, not extreme supporters, who are more likely to displease members of the other party and who are biased in favour of their own party. For example, Democrats who call themselves liberals prefer Republicans, even if the same Democrats express relatively moderate or even conservative positions.